1,378 entries from storytellers and filmmakers from 30 countries across Africa and its diaspora were received by The Triggerfish Story Lab, all keen to write Africa’s next animated blockbuster or hit TV series. The Triggerfish Story Lab specifically called for uplifting, family-friendly stories. Kenyans submitted a total of 70 entries into the initiative.

The Triggerfish Story Lab was established by Triggerfish with the support of The South African Department of Trade and Industry and The Walt Disney Company, after Triggerfish’s films Adventures in Zambezia and Khumba proved to be a successful medium for South African films to travel internationally. They were distributed in over 150 countries and dubbed into over 27 languages.

Industry experts will now evaluate the 1174 feature submissions and 204 TV series submissions. These experts include Peter Lord, the British director of international blockbusters like Chicken Run and The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists; Hollywood writer Jonathan Roberts (The Lion King); script consultant Karl Iglesias (Writing For Emotional Impact); and a panel of development executives from The Walt Disney Company, as well as South African storyteller Gcina Mhlope, comedian David Kau and Triggerfish’s development team of Anthony, Wayne Thornley and Raffaella Delle Donne.

Triggerfish will be investing up to 44M Rand over the next three years in The Story Lab, which aims to give Africa’s most talented storytellers and filmmakers the opportunity to develop their ideas alongside Triggerfish’s international network of mentors. Selected storytellers will potentially have their concepts developed into episodic TV content or an animated feature film for the global market.

The selected Story Lab participants will receive two weeks of mentoring with key studio and television executives at Disney’s headquarters in Burbank, California, as well as workshops in Cape Town with leading Hollywood script consultant Pilar Alessandra, author of The Coffee Break Screenwriter.

Shortlisted storytellers will take part in workshops in November before making their final pitches, after which Triggerfish will announce the final Story Lab participants in December 2015.